What a phenomenal response to the tour! Bedford, Stoke and tonight Manchester! Project: Leave The Capital cannot be stopped! With fantastic team at the helm (Blaggers Records, Blender, Vandalism Begins @ Home and Transmission Indie), talented artists and support from the biggest names in the industry (BBC6 Music, John Kennedy at Radio X among them), this project is proving that the rock and roll dreams really do come true.
On the eve of the Manchester gig at the legendary Castle Hotel, we caught up with Sean Grant of Sean Grant & The Wolfgang to speak about indie scenes, new bands, new releases and what it means to be a part of such esteem DIY initiative.
Official bio: You can expect dynamic, nihilistic, Nick Cave’esc, punkoid alt from Sean Grant & Wolfgang that “seethes writhes and rages with a rare intelligence” as said by Clash Magazine. With perpetually bruised melodies and frequently battered knuckles from rampages through the UK and Europe that have gained them endorsements with Airline Guitars, Korg and Blackstar Amplifiers, whilst balancing the delivery of insightful and thoughtfully executed collections of heartfelt songs. The lupine collective’s last album “ The Shadows Are Lengthening” charted at 69 after a week and gained them new fans the likes of Steve Lamacq and John Kennedy and their previous EP (recorded at Ray Davies from the Kinks studio KONK, produced by Guy Massey) songs were used on prime time Channel 4’s Hollyoaks and Tattoo Fixers and never lets the ripping up from there!
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Sean Grant & The Wolfgang was described as a “collision of shimmering shoegaze and abrasive alt-rock”. Please tell us more about the band. How long have you been playing together and what is the current line up?
Sean Grant: I started this project 7 years ago with just myself and a guitar. Since then, it’s been through different evolutions culminating in being signed to legendary label Fierce Panda, recording at Konk Studios with Grammy award winning engineer Guy Massey, going on two European tours and becoming favourites of BBC Introducing legend Tom Robinson and BBC 6 Music’s Steve Lamacq. It all seems like a blur to me now but for various reasons, I decided to take a step back from the big industry to focus on myself. This latest record is the resurrection after 3 years in the wilderness rekindling my love for creation and sharing and I’m very grateful to be here. I’ve written, recorded and played all instruments on the latest stuff and have got my mates to come play live shows with me. Drums, synth, organ, guitar and me crooning at the front is the latest manifestation of the Wolfgang.
You are hailing from Milton Keyes/Northampton area. Do you have an active indie scene there? Any band names we should be on the lookout for?
Sean Grant: Born and raised in shoe town! I grew up to an amazing indie scene. Now I live in between both places and both have their attributes. My favourite venue currently is The Black Prince in Northampton. Mr Phil Moore is doing some great things there. There is also The Craufurd Arms in Milton Keynes, where I used to run a club night as well as our latest single release show. Enjoyable Listens are doing some wonderful things at the moment too. Funnily enough, they just signed to Fierce Panda, so I’d keep an eye out for this one-man wrecking ball.
2021 was the year when The Wolfgang made an actual comeback. Last time you played under this banner was at the end of 2018. Why did you decide to close down your previous project called EGO and resurrect an older one?
Sean Grant: EGO was always a side project. It did me good to just go out and play shows just for the fun of it. I definitely learnt a lot from the experience, mainly to let go of the reigns a little bit, not to take myself so seriously, just to be present and enjoy it. Wolfgang will always be my main muse. When I write this stuff, it’s a very cathartic process and what comes out is what it is. It’s my release, my passion, my source and will always be my true self.
In May, you released a well-received album called “33”. That was in the middle of COVID pandemic and bands all around were rather quitting and splitting up than releasing new music. Weren’t you concerned that the album might not receive enough attention it deserves?
Sean Grant: To be honest, COVID allowed me to stop and spend more time on this album. When I began writing it, I was writing it just for me and before I knew it, I had an album’s worth of material. I was still unsure about what I was going to do with it, but after taking these thoughts into mediation, a resounding message kept on coming back to me that “you still have work to do” and that “you carry a message”, so here we are. With that intention in mind, I wasn’t concerned about receiving attention or anything. It’s the first thing I had written, recorded and self-released, so I honestly had no expectations.
The first single off “33” was entitled “Bodies of Christ”. We heard it for the first time on Brum Radio and we thought it had a distinctive grunge vibe. Not Nirvana like, but it reminded us of The Meat Puppets, TAD, solo Jerry Cantrell (Degeneration Trip era). What is the story behind this song?
Sean Grant: When I wrote this song, I immediately knew, it was the main single. Sometimes you write something and you’re like “where did that come from”?! It’s quite simplistic in design with that riff and that driving drum beat but it hooks you straight away. I did have reservations about releasing something with the title “Bodies of Christ” and the connotations that would omit, but it was what it was. It’s the way it was written and that’s important to me. If I still had work to do and was carrying a message, then this was part of it.
We have to congratulate you on being one of the finalists of Project: Leave The Capital. How do you feel? What are your expectations regarding the incoming tour?
Sean Grant: As soon as I saw the competition, I knew that I would be involved in the project. Just a feeling a knowing more than anything. I don’t enter competitions anymore and also had no real interest in intertwining myself with anybody in the industry with my new material but after seeing what it was all about, how could I not be involved? It sung to me about a collective together supporting grassroots music in our local community. Having gone full circle myself, this was it for me. I had no doubt it would be a beautiful coming together of like-minded people. I do have to thank Mr Ben Barry from Vandalism Begins at Home for being the man that brought it all together. Grateful to be a part of it and I’m looking forward to the tour. All the bands and people involved not only are they great people but they’re a great laugh too. It’s going to be cracked. I wouldn’t miss it if I were you.
The Castle Hotel, Manchester. Thursday 10th of February 2022
Jimmy’s Liverpool, Liverpool. Friday 11th of February 2022
The Castle Tavern, Luton. Saturday 12th of February 2022
The Hope & Ruin, Brighton. Sunday 13th of February 2022
The Water Rats, London. Friday 18th of February 2022
MK11 Live Music Venue & Sports Bar, Milton Keynes. Saturday 5th of March 2022